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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Speeches from policy makers and  
   coverage from around the country.  

    February 28, 2014
    12:00 - 2:01pm EST  

up videotapes. they didn't allow much seed yaw of any variety. do you think their view of media has changed out of power? seems to me in some ways they are quite sophisticated practitioners moved earn media now. their internet efforts are impressive in some ways. >> i totally agree with that. you know, when i was, reporting in afghanistan, when the taliban were in power, and everybody on the panel noted there was just radio sharif and there was that. also bbc had a correspondent in the ap and al jazeera. . .
to my afghan colleagues but certainly they are and they are making news interestingly. i will give you an example. the u.s. army sergeant who's being taken hostage by the network there was some discussion saying the u.s. was open to negotiating the release of the telegram prisoners from guantánamo and the taliban about two days after that report came out very quickly so w that we at negotiating this issue at all )-right-paren so they are savvy in the global media environment.
>> if they become more influential in the post 14 afghanistan or if they are candidates that are sympathetic and win a seat or two if they are going to be a part of the game or if they are going to be fighting, which i guess they are in some places. if they might somehow get engaged in governing, could they possibly tolerate other voices? can be mature to the level they allow other people to speak as well as them in a more serious afghanistan than the one they ran previously. >> the short answer of that is probably not. there's a lot of wishful thinking that has gone on about the telegram. you could imagine that a woman's are in the political process but they are a relatively small part of that equation.
i think the single biggest wild card is what the pakistanis do a serious military operation in north was there a -- wasserstein and the people that have been told has reached the point where the sharif government has said we are serious and that could change for the telegram if they no longer have a safe haven or they exist in afghanistan for some degree. but the pakistanis see that the u.s. and nato is leading in some shape or form in 2014 and the window is closing to do this operation. and so, you know, that changes a lot of things for the taliban. >> what do you think james needs to happen going forward in terms of support for the afghan media?
>> i think the big biggest single thing is the strategy. there isn't a strategy in this area. when we launched the report in 2012 and lots of conversations since last year discussing this with many ambassadors, with many political leaders and media leaders and others, they all said the same thing and that is we've got strategies for everything, this activity, the economy, the health service. everything you could think of we've got places and spaces where people meet and discuss and work out the best way of supporting the future of afghanistan except the media. it was no obvious place or space within the country where the
strategic focus could be applied on how best to secure the future legacy of what is being taken quite a lot of money to build up. and i do find that quite remarkable and staggering. and even now after quite a bit of time it isn't clear where that place and space actually is and that is what makes us worried because i don't think this is actually just an issue of lots of money. i think it is an issue of really smart and intelligent decision-making and where they need to be invested in and how can people like my colleagues on the panel be there in the future? i personally don't think the media in afghanistan is sustainable in a short term. but the role that it's playing in the future of that society is absolutely fundamental. there are lots of discussions on everything else to focus in
terms of political leadership or the political settlement, with the results of the election are going to be. but ultimately the future of afghanistan is going to be shaped by the people. and it really does need a platform for public debate. we talk a lot about it's what the nature of the national dialogue would be in afghanist afghanistan. well where is the platform, what is the foundation of ground upon which the people of afghanistan are going to be engaged in a difficult dialogue to chart their own future destiny? and i find that very odd that this element of transition, which i would argue is one of the most fundamental components of any kind of a future success in the country is just a lot of absinthe from the planning and discussion, which i think is across the agencies and fragmented across the government and the media system. so if i had to say one thing
that's needethat needed to happd to get serious. not just about money but with the clarity and determination and assistance on this is important, it's not peripheral. and i don't see that happening. >> i'm not a disinterested party i would've just endorse what james said with as much strength as i can offer. there's a reason why the first amendment is th freedom of speeh in the u.s. constitution. you can't have a democracy that works with any kind of efficiency or effectiveness of the citizens don't know very much. and so, i very much hope that -- i very much endorse what you're saying, james. let us open up to questions and points from the panel from the audience. can you briefly -- can you be brief and identify yourself at the very start when you talk and mostly questions, please come in off speeches but i wouldn't mind a few points if people want to make them.
the lady -- >> by name is jean mckenzie. a quick question about the elections, the media in the elections specifically. have we seen an activation of the political figures in the media such as, i remember there was a television station before the assassination. are we seeing political candidates and political figures moving into the media sphere? >> think you, jean. well, obviously those politicians who have their own media outlets are going to cover issues the candidate owns.
but the good news is a lot of the media outlets that are either owned by certain individuals, certain politicians or the sponsoring serving the interest of the neighboring countries. they don't carry much significance because they don't have a lot of audiences. i heard the recent survey shows that the total that is the most popular tv station in afghanistan has 60% of the audience is. one station has got around 60% of the audiences.
returning to the elections i think it proves that the afghan media has gone incredibly far in terms of professionalism and in terms of setting the agenda for the debate about the political scope that we had. >> for the voice of america afghanistan service. how much focus on the investigative journalism in afghanistan, and the second part is what are the major challenges if the media conducts such
journalism and the third part last is that these are the markets in terms of the audience test. thank you. >> who would like to -- go ahead. >> after the last experience coming out the afghan media is focused on the investigative supporting which if you hear this recently we created. we stopped and each month produced the investigative reporting and it affected we
could say that. but some of those when we read the story it would have an impact on our current president, and he gives the speech in the biweekly radio in each biweekly speech regarding our investigative report. now we have some difficulties, but if we work together, we bb of the future of the investigative report would be better, and i hope that we have a world changed. >> there are huge appetite for the investigative journalism and
fortunately we haven't had much success. in terms of producing the investigative journalism content into the problem of access to information is a huge business in the part of the afghan government event in the media information. we still don't have access to information in afghanistan, and the second sort of problem has been the environment for the safety. there is a lot going on when the case becomes personal, and then those that are covered well grow up in the media and to start attacking. we have had this in the past into the third problem has been the lack of sufficient education
in the area of the investigative journalism and the afghan media workers because in afghanistan which corruption makes a huge problem and the need for the investigative journalism. >> that segues to another question. question. what we ask you about this and it's our business in a way and also the business that is state broadcasting. you know, government broadcasting. they are moving to more of a public broadcasting model and changing the way they think about their work. i guess the question for you and i and others in the room is what is the appropriate role for the bbc and other international broadcasters that also broadcast in afghanistan is there a correction we should make as things change? when he talks about
investigative journalism one of the things we have done is a production correspondent and he's going around in the service and working with that service to identify stories that he can do. in some cases it might even be dangerous for the people in the service to do with her families if you see what i'm saying. so that is one role that perhaps the bbc can usefully provided to the courageous afghan journalists around the front lines. what are your other thoughts about things we should be doing? >> one thing about the bbc and the first thing i want to pay tribute to the partnership working very closely with rta is a program which is of public debate. at the verthe very large audienf 6.5 million people viewed at that had a series of presidential debates which were
produced in the association with us but at the standards and a complete balance across the political piece the candidates took part in those and i think that we are commanding a great deal of credibility. i think rta is potentially the most important actor in afghanistan and that is a very unfashionable thing to say particularly in washington. the reason for that is something i didn't think there's a go when i felt actually all the energy was in the commercial sector and the independence of coors was at the commercial sector. but it does reach across the whole country. it does reach into the areas and it does reach outside of the cities. it does reach of those populations that are not reached vieither commercial media.
and i think that all of the media is important, but the rta is the key to the future of the country particularly if it can become more independent. but we were talking about this morning was needed in afghanistan is the national dialogue and i think one of the foundations for the national dialogue to come is rta. this is a difficult argument to make actually. we support the public service broadcasting around the world and the number of success stories and the transition of the board is dependent and financially sustainable is not a great one. but the potential of the real success is quite a difficult. the political price of surrendering control of the state broadcaster by any incumbent president is very, very high.
and as the infrastructures become more complex and dependent, but the importance of that platform for the independent public debate in the fragile states i would argue has never been more important, and i would like to kind of -- with others to reboot and reimagine the whole of the date on the public service broadcasting. how can we start shifting the whole new level of energy and creativity into that discussion? click >> anyone else on that subject? >> the gentle man standing in front. >> my question goes t about the
violent in jordan. i think that is in a great deal of effect and the freedom of press and freedom of expression. so, had been media organizations partnered with the ministry security ministries or institutions with this issue and how do you see the level of violence against journalists in the future and how do you see the future growing to protect the rights of the journalists and their rights in the future. >> it is good to see you in washington. it is a huge challenge. violence against media workers is becoming increasingly a bigger challenge. and it's a lot of media workers
and it has -- because it is waged by people who work in the government, most of them are security workers and has created a vicious cycle where the media criticizes the government. there is pressure on the media where as an underline to construct if role of journalism and the only part is the tablet and because for the most part it is the perception into propaganda. what we have done in afghanistan as we have created a working group between the representative
of the medirepresentatives of ta support organizations and the security organizations and we are having meetings on regular basis working to create a working environment where we can peacefully and constructively resolve the problem. for example to create the guidelines on those that work for the security organizations should behave with media workers and we have distributed us to all security organizations, and we are also working with them to act on this guidelines.
the position of media workers is what their rights are and how we should behave with them. >> there have been some really impressive reports recently on anticorruption cases, so it is happening. one of the things, dennis, i know you have been doing is working with other media to do things jointly partly for protection. is this still happening, is that a model that we see as effective going forward?
in 2013 we touched some of the important incentive in afghanistan and we create that in the line with how we touch the issue and how we depend if the pressure came from the government or other how do we know to not damage one organization or not -- we create that line to share the pressure and it does work. when we receive a strong case we partner in the international
media highlighted and then the afghan media was translated but now we have around 17 independent media and we choose the case we share with our media outlet and i think there is no pressure. some of the cases go to the agenda and some of the cases but when -- like i will give you the one example when there was the municipality regarding the road, kabul may have had one week to try how to criticize the media or how to respond to that. after one week he becomes quiet.
>> i just want to add a few words on this. i think the media consortium is a great beginning in the investigative journalism in afghanistan. the problem is that previously were still if the single media outlet does it covers a sensitive corruption case, then what happens is the media outlet comes up onto the radar in the government or anybody that is responsible for the corruption case. so, what the media consortium does it at the same time like six or seven media outlets broadcast the same story. so then in that case if it is the government perpetrators warlord or whoever in the six
media outlets what they do is come to for example [inaudible] we go from 8 a.m. and they says we got it from [inaudible] this is a very good way of going about the investigative journalism. >> let me ask you this because the audience that we are trying to address in this conference is of course in afghanistan, but it's also here. what kind of stories haven't you seen and what kind of stories would you like to see covered by the american media afghanistan from here on? >> i think the american public in afghanistan and iraq because the coverage seems very similar and we are both in the news business and on the panel in the news business. the news business is about the bad news. we don't cover hurricanes that
don't have them, we cover hurricanes that did happen so we are inclined to cover bad news where that is news. i don't think it is fair to the american people to just give you one very obvious statistic between iraq and afghanistan, last year in afghanistan, 3,000 civilians were killed. that same year a thousand civilians were killed and now the population in afghanistan is thof afghanistan isthe same as n be bigger so you are more likely to be killed in iraq today than you are in afghanistan. i don't think that is clear to the american public and i don't think that's a goo that a good l but if you do the math you will be likely to be murdered in the city still than you are to be killed in the war in afghanistan as a civilian and six times more likely to be killed in new orleans which is a perfection of the compounds in this country but anyway the basic point is the american public doesn't really get fat and there are some -- there are good journalists in afghanistan and
occasionally there will be a profile like the business section in "the new york times" but that is very exceptional thing i'm not saying we need to promote all the good news but there is a story about the telecom sector in afghanistan or the entrepreneurs. it would be good to see more of those stories. >> what i wonder is going forward, will it get attention at all? >> i think that we will see as much coverage of that in afghanistan as we see today about the cheapes. we love to forget the coverage of iraq more or less disappeared. it's come back into the situation that's so bad, but there will not be a great deal of attention if the soldiers in some long-term and by the way why should there be. if the afghans don't want us
there, and we don't have people there even though of course we all agree it's desirable that we stay in some shape or form why would they continue to care? that is a simple formulation. >> we have come to the end of our time and we need to go to the next item which happens to be me talking. last thoughts for anyone? >> first of all i do think the organization will have an increasingly important role to play in terms of providing the external independent coverage as well and i think it may provide a bit of cover for the continuation of investigative journalism in afghanistan to become more important in the future and extremely grateful by the way for inviting me to speak
at this. the final talk for me though is what i said before. i don't think we are taking this serious enough. too much money and blood and treasure. this is the area of success. it can be secured that we are not going about it in a right way or carefully enough and i kind of think that not just here but also in brussels and london and elsewhere a lot more was moe attention needs to be paid for this. in the current election the afghan media outlets came together to monitor the coming election, and i believe that we
will control the coming electi election. >> they recently had a successful election. it was 2004 and there was a 70% turnout. there hasn't been a 70% turnout in america since 1900. so it's not impossible will go pretty well. >> ladies and gentlemen, in afghanistan we have come a long way. today we have around 75. more than 200 radio stations and several hundred of newspaper websites. this makes afghanistan the bastion of freedom which is controlled by the authoritative
regimes. none of this would have been possible without the generous investment and support of the international community particularly the united states but also dignifies the fact that we cannot afford to lose this. thanks to the panelists. [applause] >> thanks to everyone for attending today's discussions. i hope you found them thought provoking and useful. i certainly did. the world media is with us, so perhaps others outside of the room well also. some of you may know that i spent 26 years as an american network television correspondent benny covering international news and among many others i wrote a soviet tank from jalalabad to kabul.
i'm proud of that work as a journalist but i have to tell you that one of the bad raps on commercial television news has truth to it. you probably heard the view of tv news if it breathes it leads. it's human nature. research consistently shows people will switch channels during good news stories more readily than stories of tragedy, bloodshed and drama. the networks know that and so do the wires into the newspapers, the news business thrives on conflict. on a day in afghanistan if a roadside bomb killed four soldiers depending on what else was going on, that might make the news in this country. but on that same day if five schools or a maternal health clinic was opened, you've almost certainly would not hear about that over here.
one network correspondent friend of mine used to come to kabul every few months when i was working at the end of seat and he would do stories about the american troops and what they were up to. frankly in the business we called those beanbag stories because they always had an explosion in them somehow. and my friend told me he knew the international forces were only there is the purpose of the forces was to open up space for the aid workers, ngos, investors and most of all afghans to rebuild their country, their shattered economy, and to build some hope for the big generation that is coming forward in afghanistan. he understood that that was what they were here for. but he said that story is not sexy. but as it was noted in a previous panel between 2001 to 2010, the primary schools rose from 1 million nearly seven only in. a sevenfold increase in eight
years. the proportion of girls went from virtually zero to now close to 40%. while i was serving at the embassy in kabul i helped to arrange come and i'm terribly proud of this, we found a launch of the afghan version of sesame rate. okay? the children's television series and the teachers reading and counting and we produced our program and it is still being produced in close consultation with the afghan ministry of education. and there are some very clever people in that ministry who made it a very strong program. the project hopes to educate afghans from the preschool stage and onward and frankly all the way up to adults would in some cases. the program creates hope and it represents real change that matters. but you haven't heard about that much on the american media because the stories of the american gis and taliban suicide bombers are more compelling television. they are.
it's not that the audiences and readers haven't been told anything that's true. there's plenty of tragedy and corruption as we discussed and there are plenty of opportunities that are squandered in the last few years all legitimate news stories and they have been written about. but in my view at least to the american public has not heard the other half of the story in a fully balanced way. don't get me wrong. i'm not saying that the pessimism of afghanistan's future post 2014 is misplaced. there are many reasons for deep concern. it's a rough neighborhood as we discussed. some of the neighbors are seeking to keep the afghans plead for their own purposes and of the country has always had its own defense called divisions, its own division, tribal, regional and so forth so yes there is going to be trouble ahead of course and no doubt
about it, the conventional wisdom seems to hold that afghanistan is safe now to revert to the battle. so i think it's incumbent upon people in the room here and those of us that have spoken at the panel and everyone else that is listening to try to prove the conventional wisdom wrong. personally, i believe in the younger generation of afghans, the young afghans that inet in kabul, kandahar, many of them highly motivated and very impressive. of course, they are going to need to be. in any case, we americans may be weary of our policymakers do know that afghanistan will continue to matter for geostrategic reasons both in the united states and to the west and there is no getting around that. it is just a fact.
speaking for the voice of america, i can tell you that we plan to keep a robust presence on the air in pasco and on radio and television with our fine partner in rta and perhaps others. while the shape of the efforts may change a little bit, we and our sister organization, the radio rld are looking to maintain a role for serving our audience is in afghans and. i guess what i would like to close by saying is that whatever happens in terms of the milita military, the political aid budgets and investments an inveo forth, i hope that one message to afghans going forward comes from this conference and it's simply this: you have friends here, thousands of us who put
the time to helping out in the past and we have a special place in our hearts for your country. thank you very much. [applause] >> i think that's it. am i right clicked we are going to run those phone clips for those that may not have seen that at the beginning. one on sports and on and one on. >> a reminder this in tiger events will be available shortly on the website at >> turning to the situation in ukraine the associated press reports secretary of state john kerry called russia a's foreign minister to express concerns of reports of pro- russia gunmen patrolling streets in armored vehicles and seizing several of
airports in the region. the ap says that secretary kerry urged sir j. lab -- lavrov. back in washington washington, . president obama spent the day at the white house hosting a student film fests after him. later today 4:45 he will speak at the democratic national committee winter meeting being held at the capital hilton. we will have live coverage of the remarks on c-span. again it is up 4:45 eastern. let's go live to the briefing room under way about ten minutes press secretary jay carney speaking with reporters. the first several questions on the subject of ukraine. live coverage on c-span2. >> you were just talking about the concerns you have for the central russian involvement in ukraine. what option does the united states have available, should we reach that point?
spinet i'm not going to speculate. what i would tell you is the matter that we are very focused on, the president, secretary of state, secretary hagel and others. we are engaged with ukrainian and russian leaders and others in the region to ensure that ukraine is able to move forward in keeping with the aspiration and its integrity and its respective sovereignty is respected by other nations. we are not going to speculate about what we might do if they might happen. we are going to focus on the kind of communications we are having right now and focus on the international efforts to assist ukraine. >> they have accused the united states of meddling with the affairs and the u.s. is saying to russia don't meddle in what is happening to ukraine. it does the white house have a
response to what they were saying? >> we have made it clear that he lost legitimacy as the leader of ukraine and abdicated his responsibilities. not long after signing an agreement with the opposition he fled the capital of the country in an orderly fashion, packed his belongings and left. and i think it is also important to note that the ukrainian parliament acting responsibly to fill that vacuum elected a new government after he fled the scene. and i think it is also worth remembering that the security forces under mr. yanakovich's snipers in the downtown kiev to kill dozens of ukrainians and i think that goes to the lost legitimacy so he had attended his responsibility and he left impact of his belongings until this recent press conference
where about 1,000 come into the ukrainian parliament, which includes members from parties that represent all of ukrainian society that have taken action through both with substantial majorities including the boats from vendors of mr. yanukovych's party to fill that vacuum and two stabilize the situation in ukraine and to move forward with the plan to have early elections and that is all in our view appropriate and positive. it's a situation that is obviously quite fluid. >> just to jump ahead to the president's remarks this afternoon. they indicate that the president is going to accuse republicans of only being focused on opportunities for a few as opposed to opportunities for all americans.
does the president really be leave that and is that a reflection of what we might see in the coming months if there is just going to be nothing here in washington and the white house -- >> i think the phrase the president has used and he won't use again is that he focused on an agenda that is designed to expand opportunity for all. he talks about this all the time. and where he can find a partner in congress and in the republicans to advance that agenda on behalf of the middle class americans and americans that are striving to get into the middle class, he is eager to work together on that agenda. it is simply a fact if you look at the budget presentations and policy presentations by republicans in general that their policies have in contrast to an agenda that is designed to expand opportunity for all comincoming either protected or expand opportunity, there is a
few and that includes protecting the tax loopholes and benefits for the wealthiest and the well-connected in the society and that includes as we talked about earlier this week the refusal to entertain the closing of some of those loopholes as a part of a compromise approach dealing with our media and the long-term deficit challenge is. so yes the president will talk about why it's so important for democrats to advance an agenda that is focused on expanding opportunities for all. and as he has and i have as well it is certainly worth noting in the contrast, and he will again tonight with an agenda that is focused on protecting the loopholes and prerogatives of the wealthiest and the well-connected and again from expanding or protecting the opportunity for a few.
>> it sounds like a campaign. when you say opportunit see oppa few yesterday you were saying the chairman proposal has had some good potential to it. >> and they rallied around it. >> the president met earlier this weekend talked about immigration reform. >> obviously the president, like all republican leaders including those running for office themselves, is engaging in political events and he will be supportive in many ways a democrat either running for the reelection or office in this cycle. in the meantime that he is principally focused on advancing an agenda that expand opportunity for all and it rewards hard work and responsibility. that's what you saw in the actions announced yesterday at the my brothers keeper events. that is what he's focused on today in the white house student
film festival. that's what he's focused on in st. paul and he talks about making the investments necessary to create jobs now and to build our infrastructure in the future and as a part of a approach that would improve the tax code, the corporate tax code that used the revenue generated by that to invest in our infrastructure. so, the president is moving forward on an agenda and he looks forward to finding cooperative partners in congress along with republicans and we have seen some of that. we have seen the republicans stubbly from the brink, step away from the tactic and the strategy and the approach that did harm to our economy through the shutdown didn' to attend the default and instead, come together through the budget agreement and the ominous funding and through the decision to allow the united states to pay the bill congress rec. and
that is a positive development and we look forward to cooperating in other areas if republicans are willing and ready to find compromises on behalf of the american people. in the meantime the president is going to continue to use his executive authority to expand opportunity for all. roger? >> back to ukraine. ukraine has made a quest to the imf about 15 billion for statewide in the country and so forth. can you give us an update on where people are and where the u.s. is on negotiating that quick >> i can tell you we welcomed thwelcome thenews that the imf a team in the coming days, and for our part we are considering a range of options including the loan guarantees to support ukraine economically. the next step is for the government to resume talks at the imf. and as the government engages the imf, we will also begin taking steps in coordination
with multilateral and bilateral partners into the new government, which could complement as i mentioned earlier in th imf package. so i don't have a specific reaction to the beginning of the negotiations and discussions between the ukrainian government and the imf except that we support efforts to assist ukraine as it reform reforms ino stabilizes its economy. and we will be considering a range of options available to the united states to act in support of the complement three way of any imf assistance. >> ukraine has had previous low. back in 2008, there was some trouble on the conditions. does that cloud the talks? >> i would have to refer you to the state department and the treasury and the imf.
>> how would you define intervention? >> there have been some reports that suggest intervention and we are concerned about those and we are seeking clarification and we are watching closely to see as the secretary said whether russia might be crossing the line in any way, the intervention line if you will. so, i'm not going to speculate or frame it beyond the reports that we have seen or the concern that we are its pressing. it's very clear what our position is, which is that the crania and territorial integrity needs to be respected. the ukrainian sovereignty needs to be respected and it would be a mistake to intervene. so, it is our view that maintaining the independence and the integrity is in the interest
of the people and of the nations in the region including russia, and we are going to work with all partners to assist the government as it steps forward to deal with the economic challenges and to move forward towards early elections that would provide another future government in ukraine that is reflecting the will of all of the ukrainian people and that it respects the right including minorities and we are going to continue to watch the situation very closely when it comes to matters of potential intervention. >> how do you get to the answer of whether russia was behind this? >> of the conversations that we have around for situations like this except to say that we are watching it very closely. >> would this be crossing the line if it ends up being russia -- >> again, i'm not going to get
into the individual reports and what our assessment is about what happened, and i think there's been a lot of, even in the reports themselves are the contradictory information about some of the events including the ones that have been raised here. so, i'm not in a position to evaluate each report and evaluate who is responsible and what actually happened. we are as a government working with partners and allies and communicating directly with the leaders as well as russian leaders finding as much, getting as much information as we can about these reports. >> i don't have any more for you on that. >> does the president believe that the russians are being aggressive? >> i think that we are concerned about the reports of the russian intervention or aggression.
>> the u.s. unilaterally, who do we rely on to check that if we do believe -- >> we evaluate different monitor and engage in the diplomatic discussions about this in a variety of ways, so as the united states in partnership with our allies in the region and in direct communications with the ukrainian government and russian government officials. >> the president's consultations with the nato allies on the issues of ukraine quick >> i don't have any presidential conversations to note. the secretary of state and the conversations he had with the foreign minister lavrov and vice president biden, obviously there are communications happening in real-time regarding this very fluid situation. >> following up on a couple of topics. one is the president's speech today which white house aides
indicated it's playing out the framework that americans will make coming up at the end of the year. why at 5 a.m. on a friday? [laughter] >> i think that's when he's speaking to the speed limit whicof imagesthe democratic natl committee. and we trust in our friends in the independent media to report the news. hopefully they will follow the news on a friday and saturday. >> can i ask about, who is is a plea in charge now? >> we actually announced a successor, jeff zines and the operation is still run out of cms but it's still very much, we talked about it at the time when this was an hourly, not even to
say a daily story, we knew once the improvements were made and why the website was functioning for the vast majority of americans were trying to use it that there would be some ammunition of interest, but our efforts into the team's efforts would not subside because the work was supported and the need to ensure that the website was continually improved and they functioned in the enrollment period that is the case. we are on the eve of the final month and there is a lot of work that still needs to be done, and again sure that everybody gets out there that has -- that can use the information about the options available to them. it's getting that information is part of what we are working to do. but another part of that is the website is functioning effectively.
>> as he regularly did on the hypothesis -- >> the website is functioning much better right now. i want to know why that is if the people responsible for these high-tech wizards that made the fixes are due for a lot of the credit why the president never met with them following the fix is that ultimately put this -- >> in the meeting the president has, what i can tell you, the president appreciates all the efforts of the entire team that has been involved in fixing the problems at and in the general efforts to implement the affordable care act which is to say that it isn't over. it won't even be over after march 31. that is the open enrollment period but there is a lot of work that remains to be done and
that will continue. >> did he meet with them at some point? >> i don't have any information on the president's schedule. >> who is responsible for the problems of only the federal government has with its own website, but the state of maryland and other states are having with their websites. >> of the general questions like that i can tell you that when it comes to some states that have had problems in their websites and marketplaces they issued guidance that allow the state residents to sign up because of technical problems on the state website to get federal tax credits that debate got insurance outside of the online exchanges. in other words the subsidies available because of the affordable care act remain available no matter how you get your insurance and we are making sure that cms is working closely to support their efforts to implement the marketplace and that includes making sure that those that are eligible for
subsidies are able to receive them. >> i am talking about money that appears to be -- >> i am not sure that i see that. >> i'm talking about money that appears to have been wasted. maryland's website has already cost twice what was expected and needs presumably more federal money to advance on federal money. where is the accountability? >> i would ask you to check with cms between the interaction of cms and individual websites. what i can tell you is that when it comes to making sure that every american who has a purchase of insurance under the affordable care act is able to get the benefits are provided within the law and cms is working with the states to make sure that happens and i would also note that many states run
very effective exchanges on websites, and i think that was announced a couple weeks ago or last week california had its march 31 target in the middle of february so that one is working pretty well. >> it's costing more. >> i don't have any details in front of me on that so i would refer you to cms. >> going back to ukraine it seems that you are suggesting that when you refer to the ports of russian intervention you're not just talking about news reports, the government through other means has credible reports that the russians have engaged in some kind of -- >> i am referring at this briefing to the news reports because there have been a variety of reports, some of them conflict in and some of them inconclusive.
on how we verify the reports and test or find out what has actually happened in these individual circumstances there have been a lot of reports about the activity involving military personnel. so for that im referring to those reports and our concern about them to the fact we are watching very closely to see if russia is acting in a way that would cross the line when it comes to intervention in the affairs of the state. can you explain what our national interest is in the integrity of ukraine when you take a region which was part of russia until 1950, you know, and then of course under the soviet union but why is it in the american national interest that ukraine remains exactly as the borders are now?
>> we support the territory in the eye of states and recognized them under the un charter. and when we call on russia to respect its international obligations under the un charter to restrain from the threat of the territory and for any state we are referring to the general principle here that guide the conduct of the nations and of the international community. so, maintaining or recognizing ukraine's territory and recognizing its sovereignty is something the nations have done including russia. russia is party to agreements that recognize, including the budapest memorandum from i think the 1990s that recognized ukraine's independence and integrity and we call on nations to uphold their obligations
under those agreements and under the un charter. >> when you talk about an intervention line, that seems like a red wine, it does raise the question of well then, what? how much of -- how important a national interest is this? what are we going to do? >> i'm not going to speculate on what happens if this happens. what we are focused on is what is happening. and what we can do to assist the ukrainian people as they deal with the current circumstances the country is in both economically and politically. and to call on the nations to respect ukraine's territory and ukraine's independence and the right of the ukrainian people to decide for themselves whether they want to, for example, integrate further with europe. and to respect the fact that ukraine has and will always have
deep historical and cultural ties to russia for example and to integrate further with europe and maintain those ties are both achievable and should be achievable. they are not contradictory. and so, ukraine's responsibility to respect the freedom and liberty and civil rights of all of its citizens is a part of the bargain if you will. so, we are making all of those points in this circumstance. and in the meantime when it comes to the what if we are making it clear our views of the responsibility of other states not to intervene, and our can earn about any reports suggest there might have been an intervention. >> are they supporting the imf -- >> we are considerating -- did i just say considerating? it's friday.
[laughter] it kind of sounded legit. we haven't made a determination is about ways we can assist either unilaterally or bilaterally too complex and imf program of assistance. we are encouraged by the fact that the imf officials will be traveling and those conversations will take place. we think that's important. but at this point we haven't made any decisions about additional assistance that the united states might provide. >> hairy he read that o reed ths the top-ranked democrat in congress and took to the senate floor to denounce the kooke brothers for trying to buy america and he said that they are about as un-american as anyone i can imagine. what does the president make of the top democratic leader basically talking about un-american activities on the senate floor? >> i didn't see that report and
i haven't talked to the president about it, so i don't really have a response. >> does the president considered the cooke brothers on american? panic i haven't talked to him about the cooke brothers. in general, the context we have seen again and again our efforts to highlight individuals who have had problems with the affordable care act, and again and again, reporters have discovered that in fact the circumstances are not eating presented by either outside reps or republicans. and that's important in the work that's being done by the reporters is important and making sure that the whole story is told. we saw that with the rebuttal to the state of the unio state of s when somebody was highlighted as a having problems with the affordable care act and when reporters dug into that, they found that the circumstances to be different from what had been presented and also the fact that
-- here if you represent a constituency in congress and there is a law that has been passed to that's been upheld by the supreme court is being implemented to provide benefits to your, whether you agree with it or not, you would think you would be assisting your constituents in getting the benefits available. .. and not asking that, but there is this.
is there a suggestion -- are you making any suggestion whatsoever that to disagree with the administration and the wrong is somehow unamerican? >> no, not. yes, major. >> and going to ask you about something the office of cms put out friday. they put up the report using the community ratings provision requiring a high level of quality health care for small businesses that don't provide it ended provided before directly from a report rearrest minister to 5 percent of the small firms are expected to experience increases in their premium rates will remain 35 percent are anticipated to have reductions. this results in roughly 11 million individuals is opinions are estimated to be hired as a result of the hca and 6 million individuals or estimated have lower premiums. does this mean that for a certain segment of americans as identified by the office of the
actuary they will be paying more than they had before and that in some respects it does not a line with the president's overall commitment would deliver lower health care costs. >> first of all i have answered questions about this earlier in the week, that analysis looked at the impact of all the one provision of the ac a, not the impact of subsidies and other provisions. the report states that primulas are anticipated to stay the same on average and fines of before the affordable crack 65 percent of these funds were paying a lower average and 35 percent were paying above-average because insurers are allowed to discriminate against all employers to an employee with a serious illness. in other words, discriminate against an employer because they felt that women could be charged double london. they cannot do that anymore which i think is the appropriate thing because everyone will be in the same pool of. that ended discrimination is no longer allowed. so when you look at the law as a
whole several studies have found that the aclu will help make coverage more affordable for people who get their health insurance through their job. we talked about this earlier in the week but it does not take into account all these of the provisions within the affordable care act actually lower cost, tax credits, the medical loss ratio provision which and cut -- requires insurers to spend 80% of the moneys on health care, rave review which requires insurers said justify increases of 10% or more. the additional purchasing power that business is geared to small businesses to the marketplace because they are allowed to band together and get the san leverages large businesses. in the dca brought more competition between issuers. increasing transparency, leveling the playing field, clear information on products being offered which means issuers have to compete on price
and quality. but in general they took one provision of the affordable care act and looked at it -- >> three provisions. two were not relevant. >> they looked at that one provision ruling out all the others that mitigate the effect that they reported on. what effect does that provision have? and if you then don't isolate that out and look at the overall impact as other outside analysts have done you will see that the dca will help make coverage more affordable for americans. >> i know you are routed to the talking points, but i would like to try one more. you often tell us to evaluate not just words but actions of the government of this administration political opponents. there have been words exchanged, and they were exchanged because
of what the president said last week. you say the actions on the ground in the ukraine have been consistent with russian cooperation and consistent with the words expressed by this administration or not. >> again, we have had a very blunt and direct conversations with our russian counterparts on this matter. we have had a lot of conversations with other counterparts across the region, including -- >> carries words that he appears to be frustrated. we're communicating is not getting through, and there is more concerned -- >> it is getting through. >> misinterpreted and actions being taken that could be misconstrued and turn this into a much more volatile of situation than it already is. >> the second part is definitely true. we're concerned about the actions that might be taken that can be misunderstood and that could, you know, lead to very problematic consequences.
that is why we are calling on all parties to be cautious in how they deal with the situation and making clear our views that the ukrainian territorial integrity has to be respected. so when it comes to reports about potential intervention where concerned about them and we're making clear that intervention will be a grave mistake. we are watching very closely, as secretary carey said, to see whether not russia is crossing the line. but this is certainly a challenging situation. one that we are watching closely . >> what if any reaction does the president have to the veto by government? >> as i have noted, we don't win on every piece of legislation under consideration, but the president does believe that the governor did the right thing by
vetoing this bill. >> and you mentioned the president's travel to taxes in april. i know you will weed out future travel schedules. as the president expressed enthusiasm or desire to visit another presidential library, the george w. bush presidential library which will be focusing an exhibit of his our work starting in april? >> as you know, president obama was there for the opening of the jurors of the bush presidential library. and that included a private tour of the library conducted by president george w. bush and included, obviously, former president george h. w. bush, former president clinton, former president carter. it was a terrific event that the president enjoyed very much. he spoke at that event. as you know, the president was joined other force one.
the president very much enjoyed being able to see some of the art that president bush has worked on. [inaudible question] >> the full exhibit -- >> mercy of. [laughter] >> to see at all desire it to be fully on display. >> well, i don't have any travel announcements to make, but i am a layperson, not an art expert. i'm pretty impressed by the president's work. i think it is fascinating. if there is, i did not know that he was making in exhibit out of the library had a value and interest of is in the library.
>> given the national outcry from business leaders, mitt romney, newt gingrich, and the president's window of opportunity to make a statement by extending the executive order >> i don't have any update on that matter. we, of course, hope very much that further action will be taken in congress on the employment nondiscrimination act , an act -- a bill that it became law would be far more comprehensive in effect, but as a general matter -- the nuys said this will last about the arizona bill last week. the president believes that all americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity should be treated fairly and equally with dignity and respect and it was gratifying to see americans from all walks of life, including business leaders , faith leaders, regardless of party speak out
against this measure and it is further evidence that the american people fundamentally believe in equality his son bill of rights side of history. i have mentioned before, and i think we all know the progress that this country has made on these issues in recent years. and i think this veto reflects on that progress and on the sentiment of the american people. >> if you agree that the veto is a symbol of that progress, isn't an executive order a more immediate step to take advantage of the opportunity as opposed to the house. >> again, i don't have any new have permission to provide to you on hypothetical executive orders. what i can tell you is we support legislation. it would enshrine in law all the nondiscrimination approach
president believes is the right approach for the country. >> you said that it would be a grave mistake. is there a political reality that there would not be a political consequences for russia to cross that line given the size and significance of the country? >> that is another way of asking me whether blogger would not happen if that grave mistake were committed. i think i am not going to speculate except to point to are concerned, to point to our strongly held view that it would be a grave mistake to intervene and to point to the fact that we would not be alone in holding that view. so beyond that i am not going to speculate about what might happen if actions were taken that cross that line.
>> given the rush is on the un security council to hold up any hope for a can of resolution? >> i'm not aware of what specific action if any the security council is contemplating. i would refer you to our representation at the united nations for ambassador powers view on that. anybody? >> two questions. the conference for education that said only 11 percent of business leaders believe that college students, college graduates are prepared to take on jobs. the president has talked about making more students, college and career ready. does he think that colleges are making students career ready? >> i can tell you that he is
very focused on the need debt coverage and is available to your unamerican so that they are getting the education they need to fill the jobs and a good paying jobs of the future. and that is reflected in the jobs and training that the effort on the president's behalf of the vice-president is overseeing. and we had a very big meeting about leaders of many universities and colleges not that long ago. so i think again not knowing the details of the poll it reflects much allies of we face as a nation which is to make sure that we are harnessing the great potential of our people. as well as those it, study and action and universities and colleges. and rare also providing, of virginities for community
colleges and other educational institutions that insure that we are getting too far people are getting the training that they need for the job of virginities that there. so this is a broader challenge. secretary duncan has done a lot of work on this subject, but it does reflect one of the concerns that we have about improving our educational system so that the americans are getting the education and skills that they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow. >> more than 100,000 people made further comment on the proposed irs regulations for 501c4 groups . -, former sec commissioners weih in on this. this was an area the ira should not get into. what is the -- has the irs proposal, out for our 501(c)4? >> one of the recommendations by
the inspector general was recommend to irs chief counsel in the department of the treasury that guidance on how to measure their primary activity of 501(c)4 social welfare organizations be included for consideration in the department of the derek -- treasury priority guidance plan. that is obviously a mouthful, but the fact is that this action was recommended by the independent inspector general who had already looked into some of the matters that caused all the concern that we saw last year on these issues. so i don't have much more to say on that. i would refer you to the treasury department. in tell you that beginning in 2010 treasury and the address perceived guidance from congress regarding these. and as the treasury has said, the rule change did not restrict any formal political speech. these regulations do not favor
any individual political party or group. applies all organizations regardless of political affiliation. i am sure the irs or treasury would have more for you on that. >> , file we have seen in 2012. >> the fact that the inspector general recommended the approach of we are talking about here and to the statement i just made which reflects what treasury is said about it. thanks, everybody. [inaudible conversations] yes? who do we have? on monday president obama will host israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu at the white house. the president looks forward to discussing with the prime minister progress in the israeli palestinian negotiations, developments in tehran and other regional priorities.
prime minister netanyahu's visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bond between the united states and israel and are close consultation on a range of security issues. i don't have the specifics. i think it will make a statement, but i don't have anything more for you on that. i don't have anything more for you on that. i don't. we would give the daily schedule . i know you don't want to work sunday to sunday, but you can probably open in the mail. on tuesday the president will hold an event. it's great. on tuesday the president will hold in a van on the fiscal year 2015 budget and our plan to expand opportunity for all here in washington d.c. in the evening the president will attend and the sec of benton and washington d.c. area. on wednesday the president will travel to the hartford connecticut area for an end on a minimum-wage.
following mr. will travel to boston for two dnc events. on thursday the president will hold an event on the economy and health care here in washington. on friday the president of first city will travel to the miami area for a van on expanding opportunity for the middle class. that is your week ahead. i hope you all have a terrific weekend. think you're going to have to bundle up, mike last weekend. thanks. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> you heard white house spokesman jay carney talking about the president's schedule. president obama today at the white house hosting a student film festival this afternoon. later at 4:45 p.m. eastern the president speaks of the democratic national committee's annual winter meeting held at the capital hilton. live coverage begins over on c-span at 445 this afternoon.
>> pearl harbor was in december of 41 and almost immediately people start talking about what is to be done, the population which includes german and japanese and italian foreign nationals or enemy alien. the japanese american population in general on the west coast were rounded up in mass and had to leave their homes if they live demo was called the western defense on. so they were removed, forced to leave and then put in camps surrounded by barbed wire and they were not charged with anything in particular. westcoast non-japanese americans strongly supported the removal. it was a very popular policy. the civil rights organizations which were largely based back east did not pay much attention to it. in all of the major jewish
newspapers on the west coast they were weekly, and they had editorials talk about how the right has to be protected and we should fight president -- presence in all its forms without ever saying the word japanese specifically. it was almost as if they wanted to say something but were nervous about actually doing so. so there was -- i call it an awkward silence or a uncomfortable silence around this issue. then i started to investigate more. >> this weekend book tv and american history tv look beyond the history and literary life of salem, oregon saturday at noon on c-span2 and sunday at 2:00 on c-span three. >> well, deaths from other major diseases continue to decline. deaths from all signers have increased almost 70 percent of the last 15 years. over 5 million americans have alzheimer's, and at this rate in
35 years as many as 16 million why have the disease. the third reason i am here is to show people that they are not alone. so few people share their personal story and have something to relate to. i know that if me and my wife saw someone like me talking about this it would probably make us feel less alone. americans whispers the word alzheimer's because their government does. whisper is better than silence that the community has been facing for decades but is still not enough. niece to be yelled and screamed to the point that it gets the attention and funding of the desires and needs. dream of the day the maturity is no longer necessary and i can go back to being the lazy, self involved a man child was meant to be. people look to their government for hope and ask them that you continue to take more steps to provide more. >> this weekend on c-span actor's death row in advocating increased awareness in their support for alzheimer's treatment.
saturday morning at 1025 eastern and live sunday on book tv author and university professor will take your calls and comments on what he calls black power studies. in depth at noon on c-span2. and american history tv biz is the national gallery of art to learn about colonel robert gould shaw and a 54 massachusetts volunteer infantry sunday at 6:00 p.m. >> for reserve chairman janet yellen says economic data shows the slowdown. although she stressed that the winter weather conditions could have played a role in those figures. they came before testimony before the senate banking committee as part of person my annual monetary report. taking over a set of the central bank earlier this month. two hours and 15 minutes.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] fists. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> i call this hearing to order. welcome director janet yellen as chair to deliver the federal reserve semiannual monetary policy report. chair yellen, i would like to congratulate you on your nomination and confirmation. in fact, this month hearings career in is the first time that a woman is delivering the fed's semiannual report to congress.
jerry allen, you have a lot of important issues to focus on as chair including implementation of reform, establishing policies to improve financial stability and reduce systemic risk and at providing appropriate monetary policy to support our economy. overall i am encouraged by their recent improvements in the economy. it appears that economic growth is picking up and mainstream economists expect stronger growth this year. this is good news. however i am concerned that the economic recovery is not being felt by every -- average americans. to many cities and towns across america have not fully recovered from the great recession and continue to struggle. long-term unemployment remains
historically high. we have seen a recent college graduates, many of whom are burdened by high student loan debt. income inequality is becoming more severe and more families are being squeezed out of the middle. as such and while inflation remains weak, i caution the fed not to move too quickly to exit from this current policy until we are on solid footing and the recovery is more widespread. while the fed policies have helped the recovery, the fed can only do so much. congress needs to act to ensure that recovery is more widespread and that generations of americans are not shut out of economic opportunity.
we cannot solve our fiscal problems and need to invest in the economy to ensure future prosperity. it is important we implement policies that work alongside monetary policies to help get the americans back to work. jerry allen, i look forward to hearing your thoughts on the decision to taper asset purchases. how recent fed actions are affecting the economy and where the economy is headed. i now turn to the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you, chairman and welcome. on your first appearance in this committee is the chair the federal reserve board of governors. today's hearing is an important agenda to examine the current state of monetary policy.
since your confirmation hearing in november the fed has begun the process of shaping its quantitative easing purchases. one the web well over $4 trillion in treasury or mortgage-backed securities. former german bernanke and others have suggested that the fed might maintain the expanded size of the balance sheet for some time rather than probably reducing it. this would mean that the reserves traded on the bank balance sheet to purchase those assets would remain in the financial system will. when one the fed will have to be vigilant to ensure the tools they have identified.
these unconventional monetary policies have in my opinion failed to produce the promised benefits. mobil over the last four years the share of adults that are working have not increased and gdp has fallen further behind potential as we would have defined it in the fall of 2009. all that is to say that despite unprecedented amount of monetary intervention and record low interest rates businesses have not responded by hiring new workers. dr. yellen, in your confirmation hearing you commented on the need to monitor the cost and risk to financial stability the current monetary policy creates. you also stated the you believe monetary policy is most effective when the public understands what the fed is trying to do and how it plans to do it. i appreciate your commitment to openness and transparency.
i look forward to your thoughts as to how the fed will manage a return to normalized monetary policy and how you will communicate that transition to the public. i also look forward to learning more about your perspective on the implementation of the dodd-frank act and have different rules interact with each other and their impact on the economy at large. because of the size and complexity of these rules it is paramount that the regulators struck the right balance without unduly harming the economy. this was evident most recently in december with the final volker rule and its unintended and disproportionate effect on community banks with respect to their holdings of trust preferred collateral debt obligations. the economic impact of the recently finalized a rule imposed-capital requirements on foreign banks doing business in the united states is yet to be seen. early reports indicate that some foreign banks are moving assets outside the united states taking their market activities to
friendlier jurisdictions. as you continue with the rulemaking process, i encourage you to do so without placing the u.s. markets at a competitive disadvantage or putting out businesses of smaller firms that are no threat to our financial security. i certainly hope that you will work with congress to identify statutory ambiguities which prevent the fed from doing the right thing. lastly we still have the government conservatorship of fannie mae and freddie mac which will create the long term market distortion in this crucial segment of the u.s. economy. i look forward to hearing your thoughts and the need for this reform and bringing this five-year ordeal to a close. again, welcome, and no accord your testimony. >> thank you, senator crapaud. to reserve time for questions opening statements will be limited to the chair and ranking member. i would like to remind my colleagues that the work -- the
record will be open. i would like to welcome the chair yellen. serving her first term as chair of the board of governors of the federal reserve system. sworn into office earlier this month. before that she served as vice chair and a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system. she was also previously chair of the council of economic advisers please begin the testimony. >> chairman johnson, senator, other members of the committee, i am pleased to present the federal reserve's semiannual monetary policy report to the congress. in my remarks today i will discuss the current economic situation and outlook before turning to monetary policy.
i will conclude with an update on our continuing work on regulatory reform. first, let me acknowledge the important contributions of chairman bernanke. his helped make our economy and financial systems stronger and ensure that the federal reserve is transparent and accountable. i pledged to continue the work. the economic recovery gained a greater attraction in the second half of last year. real gross domestic product is currently estimated to have risen at an average annual rate of more than three and a half% in the third and fourth quarters of from one and three 1/4 percent pace from the first half . the pickup in economic activity is fuelled further progress in the labour market. that one in a quarter million jobs has been added to payrolls since the previous monetary
policy report last july. three in a quarter million have been added since august 2012. the month before the federal reserve began a new round of asset purchases to add momentum to the recovery. the unemployment rate has fallen nearly a percentage point since the middle of last year, and one-and-a-half percentage points since the beginning of the current asset purchase program. nevertheless, the recovery in the labor market is far from complete. the unemployment rate is still well above levels that the federal open market committee participants estimate is consistent with maximum sustainable employment. those out of a job more than six months continued to make up an unusually large fraction of the unemployed. and the number of people who are working part-time but would
prefer a full-time job remains high. these observations the importance of considering more than the unemployment rate when evaluating the conditions of the u.s. labor market. among major components of gdp, household and business spending growth stepped up during the second half last year. early in 2013 growth and consumer spending was restrained by changes in fiscal policy. as this restraint abated during the second half of the year household spending exhilarated supporting job gains and rising home value and equity prices. similarly growth in business investments started off slowly last year by then picked up during the second half reflecting improved sales prospects, greater confidence, and still favorable financing
conditions. in contrast, the recovery in the housing sector slowed in the wake of last year's increase in mortgage rates. inflation remains low as the economy picked up strength with both the headline and corporation personal consumption expenditures where pc e price index is rising only about 1% last year, well below the federal open market committee's 2% objective for inflation over a longer run. some of the recent softness refect to cover flights factors that seems like we have improved transitory including falling prices for crude oil and declined in non-oil import prices. my colleagues on the fomc and i anticipate that economic activity and employment will expand in a moderate pace this year and next. the unemployment rate will continue to decline toward is a
longer run sustainable level and inflation will move back toward 2 percent over the coming years. we have been watching closely the recent volatility in global financial markets. our sense is that at this stage these developments do not pose a substantial risk to the u.s. economic outlook. we will, of course, continue to monitor the situation. mr. chairman, let me add as an aside that since my appearance before the house committee a number of data releases have pointed to a softer spending than many analysts had expected. part of that softness may reflect adverse weather conditions, but at this point it is difficult to discern exactly how much. in the weeks and months ahead my colleagues and i will be attempting to indicate whether
the recovery is progressing in line with our earlier expectations. turning to monetary policy, let me emphasize that i expect a great deal of continuity in the fomc approach to monetary policy . i served on the committee as reformulated our current policy strategy, and i strongly support the strategy, which is to design -- designed to fill the federal reserve statutory mandate emax on employment and price ability. prior to the financial crisis the fomc carried out monetary policy by adjusting its target to the federal fund rate. with that rate near zero since late 2008 we have relied on to less traditional tools, asset purchases and for guidance. to help the economy move toward maximum employment and price
stability. both tools put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and support asset prices. in turn these more accommodative financial conditions support consumer spending, business investment, and housing construction adding impetus to the recovery. our current program of asset purchases began in september september 2012 amid signs that the recovery was weakening and progress in the labour market have slowed sphere. the committee said that it would continue the program until there was a substantial improvement in the outlook of the labour market in the context of price stability. in mid 2013 the committee indicated that if progress toward its objectives continued as expected in moderation in the monthly pace of purchases would like to become appropriate later
in the year. in december the committee jazzed that the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labor market conditions warranted a modest reduction in the basin purchases from 45 billion to 40 billion per month of longer-term treasury securities and from 40 billion to a 35 billion per month of agency mortgage-backed securities. and it is at the january meeting that the committee is headed to make additional reductions at the same magnitude. if incoming information broadly supports the committee's expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer run objective the committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in a further measured steps of future meetings.
that said, purchases are not on a preset course, and the committee's decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the outlook that the labor market and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and cost of these purchases. the committee has emphasized that a highly accommodative policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after asset purchases and. in addition, the committee has said since december 2012 that it expects the occurrence low target range for the federal funds rate to be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above six and a half%. inflation is projected to be no more than half a percentage point above our 2% longer rumbled and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.
crossing one of these thresholds will not automatically prompt an increase in the federal funds rate, but will, instead, indicate only that it has become an appropriate for the committee to consider whether the broader economic outlook would justify such an increase. in december of last year and in this january the committee said that its current expectations based upon its assessment of a broad range of measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations and readings on financial developments is that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal fund rate well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below six and a half%, especially if projected inflation continues to run below
the 2% cool. i am committed to achieving both parts of our dual mandate, helping the economy returned to full employment and returning inflation to 2% while insuring that it does not run persistently above or below that level. i will finish with an update on progress on regulatory reforms and supervisory actions to strengthen the financial systems . in october the federal reserve board proposed rules to strengthen liquidity positions of large and internationally active by angeles petitions. together with other federal agencies the board also issued a final rule implementing the volker rule which prohibits banking firms from engaging in the short term proprietary trading of certain financial instruments. in addition, we recently
finalized of rules implementing enhanced provincial standards mandated by section 165 of the dodd-frank wall st reforming consumer protection act. on the supervisory front the next round of annual capital stress tests, the largest 30 bank holding companies is under way, and we expect to report results in march. regulatory and supervisory actions, including those that i leading to substantial increases in capital and liquidity in the banking sector are making our financial system more resilience still, important tasks lie at. we are working to finalize the proposed rule, strengthening the leverage ratio standards for u.s.-based systemically important global banks. we expect to issue proposals for risk-based capital surcharge for those banks as well as for a
long term debt requirement to help ensure that these organizations can be resolved. in addition, we are working to advance proposals on margins for non clear derivatives consistent with the new global framework and are evaluating possible measures to address financial stability risks associated with short-term wholesale funding. we will continue to monitor for emerging risks, including watching carefully to see if the regulatory reforms work as intended. since the financial crisis and the depths of the recession substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to help and in strengthening the financial system. still, there is more to do it read too many americans remain unemployed.
inflation remains the lower longer term objective and the hope of making the financial system more robust as not yet been completed. i look forward to working with my colleagues and many others to carry out the important mission you have given the federal reserve. thank you. i would be pleased to take your questions. >> thank-you, chair. as we begin questions i will ask the clerk to put five minutes on the clock for each member. jerry allen, with unemployment so i, does that give the fed some room to continue to promote employment? >> chairman, yes, it's certainly does give us room to continue promoting full employment. we have committed to do so when it has been made clear that we
see an accommodative monetary policy is remaining appropriate for quite some time. there is no conflict at all at the moment between the two bills that congress has assigned to less of promoting maximum employment and price stability. inflation is running well below are 2% target. as you indicated, that gives us ample scope to continue to try to promote or return to full employment and are committed to doing that. >> implementing 165 of dodd-frank. how would this interact with rules and capital requirements for insurance companies other than the count amendment.
>> we are looking very carefully to design an appropriate set of rules for companies with important involvement in insurance. we recognize that there are very significant differences between the business models of insurance companies and the banks that we supervise. we are taking the time that is necessary to understand those differences and to attempt to craft a set of capital and liquidity requirements that will be appropriate to the business model of insurance companies. i would say, however, that the column -- collins amendment does restrict what is possible for the federal reserve in designing an appropriate set of rules. so it does pose some constraints on what we can do.
and we will do our very best to craft an appropriate set of rules subject to that constrained. >> and in what ways could they make this if the as a nation more transparent. >> on this one, senator, i would say that i think it really have provided the public with a good deal of information about the criteria that it is using, the general criteria that it is establishing for attempting to determine whether or not an institution and organization should be designated as a city, and in the cases of those organizations physician and merritt has made a designation, it has really provided a wealth of information about those organizations. there are also opportunities for
companies that want to contest designation to have an appeals process. so there is really a well worked out process. now, as they go on to consider other possible firms for designation, if it decides to use different sets of criteria i think it is completely appropriate that the fslic should also make clear its new criteria are being used to govern designations. >> hal has recovery impacted wages and income inequality and if so, what can congress do to address this major problem? >> senator, i think that the issues of income inequality, rising income inequality in this
country really take back many decades, probably to the mid-80s when we began to see a very substantial widening of wage gaps between more skilled and less skilled workers. and this is a transit that unfortunately has continued almost unabated for the last 30 years. economists have debated exactly what the causes are with technological change and globalization player rolls. however, i think it is clear that the recession has placed an extremely high toll, particularly in special burdens on lower income workers. those workers and less educated workers have seen their unemployment rates rise disproportionately during the
downturn. and so households and segments of our population that had already been suffering, stagnant or declining incomes for many years have seen their recession take a large toll. so it really has been a very large burden, and it is our objective to try judge did the economy back to full employment to alleviate that portion of the burden. things like education and training, i think, are on every economist list of actions that congress could take. early childhood education, training more generally, those things. certainly there are others that congress can consider. >> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman and share, welcome to the committee. appreciate your comments a
couple of weeks ago to the house financial-services committee when you discussed gse reform. at that point you said that we still have a system that has systemic risk. reforming fannie and freddie is a priority for this committee, and i would like to ask you to take a couple of brief moments to discuss the need to bring private capital back into the market. >> well, senator, i strongly support and would urge the congress to address the issue with gst reform. we have gone and a mortgage system that, in a way, the defacto census highly remains dependent upon government backing and fails to meet the very important objective of successful securitization without systemic risk. there are a number of different ways in which congress could proceed with gst reform depending upon your assessment
of appropriate priorities, but in my personal view it is simply very important for congress to decide explicitly with the will of the government should be in housing, finance, and there are a lot of possible choices available. i think in terms of bringing private capital back into the market will now have a system where almost all mortgages that are being granted in this country have government backing associated with it, and nothing to see private capital return in meaningful amounts to the mortgage industry clarifying the rules of the road is important. so i would certainly urge congress to proceed in this area. >> thank you. i agree with you and appreciate your observations at this point. as i stated in my opening statement i am concerned about dodd-frank implementation, and i
certainly hope that you will clearly communicate with congress if there are statutory ambiguities or obstacles that present time prevent the fed from doing the right thing when promulgating regulations. in that context of a lead to ask if you agree. when chairman bernanke was before us last year, i think it was, i asked him the same question. would like to know if you agree with him that the areas of end-users, swaps, pushups, and reducing the regulatory burden on the community banks are areas in which we need additional statutory attention to getting it right. ..eas in which we need additional statutory attention to getting it right. >> so the three areas that you mentioned are ones that are high on our list of concerns, areas that we are looking at ours